Issues with Phone, Cable or Internet Providers? The FCC Can Help
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Issues with Phone, Cable or Internet Providers? The FCC Can Help

January 19, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and U.S. territories.

The FCC regularly receives complaints from consumers on a wide variety of issues. Consumers are urged to always try to resolve the problem first with the company whose product, service or billing are at issue. However, if that does not succeed, consumers are encouraged to file a complaint with the Commission.

There are two types of official complaints that can be filed with the FCC -- informal and formal.

Informal Complaints

The first step in the complaint process is filing an informal complaint. Even though the process is called "informal", the commission takes these complaints very seriously and all informal complaints receive substantial attention and consideration.

The informal complaint process requires no complicated legal procedures, has no filing charge, and does not require the complainant to appear before the Commission.

Formal Complaints

Consumers not satisfied with the response to an informal complaint can file a formal complaint. A formal complaint must be filed within six months of the date of the FCC's response to the initial informal complaint.

The current fee for filing a formal complaint with the FCC is $200, but fees are subject to change.

Formal complaint proceedings with the FCC are similar to court proceedings. Each party involved must comply with specific procedural rules, appear before the Commission, and file documents that address any and all legal issues.

Parties filing formal complaints with the Commission are usually represented by attorneys or experts in communications law and the FCC's procedural rules.

Complaints about issues not covered by the FCC

While the FCC can help consumers with many types of complaints, there are many issues – such as consumer fraud or cable billing – which are be best addressed by local, state or federal agencies or authorities that have jurisdiction over these issues.

For charges on your telephone bill for non-telephone services, file your complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Additional Resources

Complete information on filing formal complaints with the FCC is available through the Commission's Enforcement Bureau. The FCC can also be reached by phone toll-free at 1-888-CALL-FCC.

Additionally, the FCC's Consumer Help Center offers a plethora of information on common consumer issues involving TV, phone, internet and radio, as well as more details on filing a complaint.